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May 15, 2013

Archaeology, New Discoveries and the Story of Jamestown Told at Kimball Theatre

A trio of experts explore the story of “Jane” and survival cannibalism at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 at Colonial Williamsburg’s Kimball Theatre. Drs. William Kelso, Doug Owsley and James Horn discuss the groundbreaking collaborative efforts behind the archaeological discovery of “Jane” that led to the confirmation of the first scientifically-proven occurrence of survival cannibalism in Colonial America.

The collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution, Colonial Williamsburg and the Jamestown Rediscovery Project of Preservation Virginia was prompted by the archaeological discovery of partial human remains last year during excavation of an early 17th-century trash deposit at Jamestown. The remains, identified as those of a 14-year-old English girl, were named “Jane” by the research team. Based on the anthropological evidence of her diet and the archaeological layer where her partial remains were found, researchers believe "Jane" arrived in Jamestown in August 1609, just months before the worst of the "starving time" — the winter of 1609-1610 — that brought sickness and starvation. More than 200 men, women and children — crowded into James Fort and under siege by the Indians — died during the cruel winter.

For the past 20 years, the Jamestown Rediscovery Project® at Historic Jamestowne — initiated to find the remains of the original James Fort — has established the location of the fort and principal buildings, and recovered more than 1.5 million artifacts. The project has reshaped perspectives of the early settlers’ daily life and purpose, their relations with the Native populace, and revealed a narrative of human endeavor and perseverance that laid the foundations of British America and ultimately the United States.

Dr. William Kelso is director of the Jamestown Rediscovery Project® and author of Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Dr. Doug Owsley is the division head for physical anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Dr. James Horn is the vice president for research and historical interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and author of A Land As God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling 1-800-HISTORY. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley